Second-generation visible minority Canadians are more likely to report discrimination compared to their parents.

A higher proportion of second-generation visible minority Canadians reported experiences of perceived discrimination than first-generation visible minorities, according to a 2007 study.

Perceived Discrimination by Race and Generation (graph)

(In my graph, Generation 0 refers to recent immigrants, and Generation 1 refers to earlier immigrants.)

Have you experienced discrimination in the past 5 years?

Immigrants Immigrants
Immigrant Recent* Earlier** Second Generation Third Generation and higher
Whites 19.2% 10.2% 10.9% 9.9%
Total visible minorities 33.6 35.5 42.2
Chinese 35.4 30.9 34.5
South Asian 28.2 34.1 43.4
Black 44.8 47.7 60.9
Other visible minorities 32.5 34.8 36.2

*Arrived in Canada between 1991 and 2001 ** Arrived in Canada before 1991

The authors of the study were Rupa Banerjee and Jeffrey Reitz—the same person who discovered in 2009 that the more discrimination someone faced, the more they were likely to identify with their ethnic group. Globe & Mail reporter Marina Jiménez wrote of the study:

The study, based on an analysis of 2002 Statistics Canada data, found that the children of visible-minority immigrants exhibited a more profound sense of exclusion than their parents.


The study found that 35 per cent of recent immigrants of Chinese origin reported experiences of perceived discrimination, 28 per cent of South Asians, and 44 per cent of blacks, compared with 19 per cent of whites.

The gap didn’t narrow, but widened, with the next generation, with 42 per cent of all visible minority second-generation immigrants reporting discrimination, compared with 10.9 per cent of their white counterparts.

This should not be that surprising, considering that recent immigrants usually cannot pick up the nuances of Canadian culture, and that second-generation whites are perceived as Canadian, while second-generation visible minorities are still perceived as perpetual foreigners. For example, the last paragraph of the excerpt contains this phrase:

visible minority second-generation immigrants

The prejudiced assumption that even Canadian-born Canadians of colour are immigrants is the same prejudiced thinking that discriminates against even second-generation Canadian job applicants with Chinese and South Asian names. The racial and ethnic discrimination is so normalized that even when a White Canadian is consciously writing about discrimination against Canadians of colour, she has difficulty suppressing her stereotypes about visible minorities.

Added Prof. Reitz: “Multiculturalism doesn’t have specific goals and objectives. The majority population thinks too much is being done already, while minorities think the policy lacks credibility.”

Multiculturalism is a national policy of Canada, and it is clearly better than the racist and unsound policy of assimilation, but multiculturalism does not address systemic racism, white privilege, or the primacy of First Nations peoples. Many white Canadians may even think that multiculturalism addresses race, since they may believe that cultural difference—instead of racism—is what creates the sense of exclusion. This idea is founded on the erroneous assumption that race determines culture, which itself is another manifestation of racial othering and prejudice.

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5 Responses to “Second-generation visible minority Canadians are more likely to report discrimination compared to their parents.”

  1. Raven’s Eye Says:

    […] Second-generation visible minority Canadians are more likely to report discrimination compared to th… Share and Enjoy: […]

  2. urbia Says:

    I can see this resulting in a workplace culture shock when white Canadian employers, conditioned to expect a more compliant visible minority workforce, is suddenly met with a generation of ‘uppity’ brown people voicing their opinions and demanding to be treated with the same respect as the white classmates they grew up with.

  3. Vincent Says:

    Can you please explain what years are “Generation 1 and 2” are??
    Please reply before June 7th . :3

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